The responsibilities and duties of a leader are most commonly associated with the decision-making and problem-solving processes. In any organization, a leader is expected to be knowledgeable and wise enough to carry the heavy burden of finalizing the decision, choosing the overall course of action, and determining plans for the future. A leader is a person in whom the entire body of personnel should be ready to put their hopes and trust. Handling the complex and multifaceted activity of the decision-making is a difficult task that requires the inclusion and consideration of a multitude of factors and situations. In turn, the analysis, evaluation, and explanation of a leader’s decisions should not only be based on his or her personal qualities.
When it comes to decision-making, it can vary from one leader to another depending on their leadership styles. As a result, it is possible to distinguish between such decision-making styles as delegation, group decision, consultative, and autocratic (Kick, 2011). The latter style is typical to especially controlling leaders who are in charge of all the decisions made in an organization. The consultative decision-making is the one that results from a leader’s interaction with his or her advisers, executives, and trusted professionals and is based on the inclusion of the knowledge of the leader, as well as that of the people that were consulted. Group decision assumes that the final decision is not taken by a single individual but by a group of equally authoritative persons. Finally, delegation occurs when a leader willingly passes the decision-making task to another trusted professional.
As one can see, leadership behaviors in regard to decision-making can differ quite a lot, and this difference is not based solely on the leaders’ personalities. To be more precise, apart from the internal factors such as character traits and qualities of a leader, it is possible to recognize a set of external drivers of the decision-making; they involve the stakes and the stakeholders (“Leadership and decision making,” 2017). In particular, a leader’s subordinates play an important role in determining the style of leadership that is used to guide and manage them. Differently put, a leader’s decision-making style is heavily dependent on the kind of people he or she is working. For example, a leader surrounded with knowledgeable and experienced executives and employees is more likely to trust them and delegate some duties or consult them about certain issues. At the same time, a leader surrounded with low-skill workers who are not ready to handle autonomous projects is more likely to be drawn to autocratic style in order to ensure that the incompetence and the lack of readiness of the employees do not interfere with important top-level decisions.
Moreover, the decision-making process of a leader is also impacted by the situation in which it is accomplished. The situation can require fast and decisive actions from a leader or long and thorough planning; additionally, it can be presented in a way altering the leader’s perspective in some manner (“Factors affecting decision making,” n.d.). For example, many decisions of organizational leaders are made based on a body of research and documentation that confirms the need for change or action. In that way, in case if the organization has a flawed reporting system, it may be possible that its leadership will not have the accurate information for the correct decision-making. In turn, the consequences of a wrongful decision would not be inflicted by the leader alone but by the entire organization of which he or she is in charge.
Finally, when it comes to the personal traits of a leader that can be associated with his or her decision-making style, one should not only consider the inherited features and abilities. To be more precise, a significant role in a leader’s decision-making style is played by their level of professionalism, experience, and overall goals. A skilled leader has a high level of emotional intelligence and knows how to evaluate situations objectively without letting a personal bias impacting the decision that may potentially affect many stakeholders. The process of decision-making begins with gathering information and collecting all the data necessary for an informed decision, further, the leader’s role is to review the facts and attempt to see them from different perspectives in order to prevent forming biased opinions; in addition to the assessment of the present situation, a leader will also reflect on the events that served as its root causes, and the potential consequences that could arise in the future (Bisk, n.d.). Moreover, a leader is to consider the perspectives and perceptions of the stakeholders involved in the situation.
In that way, making a decision, a leader will be motivated by a multitude of factors and forces such as the economic benefits and costs of each solution, the social change or reaction they may produce, the ethics of the problem and its impact on the organization in general. The personal ideas and feelings of a leader are just one of many aspects included in his or her decision-making. As a result, the personal perspective is not enough to explain why certain decisions are made.
Bisk. (n.d.). The basics of the decision-making process. Web.
Factors affecting decision making. (n.d.). Web.
Kick, N. (2011). Leadership styles: Decision making. Web.
Leadership and decision making. (2017). Web.